The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has been urged to ensure transparency and equal distribution of the proposed 2020 budget submitted to the joint session of the National Assembly.
The ministry proposed to spend N171,061,527,148 in the 2020 fiscal year, N168,331,040,938 for recurrent expenditures and N2,730,486,210 for capital.
Analysis from the breakdown showed that the ministry would spend over 98.4 per cent of its budget on overhead and personnel costs, comprising salaries, wages and allowances, and 1.6 per cent on capital expenditure.
Reacting, stakeholders told The PUNCH that the structure of the budget would affect the development of infrastructure in the sports sector.
Some of them also called on the minister to ensure that federations were not sidelined in the distribution of the budget.
One of them, a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Brown Ebewele, urged the minister to consider revenue generation as a priority.
He said, “The federations constitute 80 per cent of the business of the sports sector and get little from the sports ministry, and the ministry is getting over N168bn, it means the money is for the big men to spend. The federations must be funded reasonably, otherwise, we are just joking.
“What is the sports ministry contributing to the national coffers of the Federal Government in terms of IGR?” Also, the President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih, advised the minister against focusing solely on football.
Orbih said, “The minister should ensure that the money (2020 budget) is spent judiciously and across the various sports. What we have had in the past is bulk of the budget being spent on football. The focus has always been more on football.
“We are not saying that football should not be taken care of, but a fraction of what is given to football should be given to other sports. The minister has clearly indicated his kind of vision, the signals are quite positive.”
Also, a former member of the Nigeria Football Federation Reforms Committee, Shuaib Gara-Gombe, said, “The truth is that the new minister can easily demand for amendment during the appropriation hearing, if he is not the one who prepares the budget. He can also request the President to approve a supplementary budget for the sports sector.
“The infrastructure deficit we have in sports is because we don’t plan. Also, money allocated for some of these facilities were squandered and nobody has been able to do anything about it.
“Our stadiums are in a very sorry state. If you count the top 10 footballers and athletes in Nigeria today, you will find out that 90 per cent of them developed with facilities outside Nigeria. So, it is a disaster. It is sad that we have less capital expenditure.”
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